Master's Theses

Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Dr. Whitney Whitaker


The current study investigated the relationship between White privilege (WP) awareness and the acceptability of racial microaggressions among majority group members. Based on prior research, three potential mediators (i.e., the willingness to confront WP), the anticipated costs of addressing WP, and WP remorse) and one moderator (i.e., one’s propensity to make attributions to prejudice; PMAPS) were examined. A total of 202 participants were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Efforts were made to recruit participants from each of the five regions of the United States (Midwest = 24.1%, Northeast = 24.6%, Southeast = 17.8%, Southwest = 14.1%, West = 19.4%) to reduce any potential sampling bias. An almost equal number of men (N =104) and women (N = 85) who identified as Caucasian completed the study. All participants were over the age of 18 and under the age of 65, with an average age of 36.76 (SD = 16.51). Participants completed the White Privilege Attitudes Scale (see Appendix E), the Propensity to Make Attributions to Prejudice Scale (see Appendix F), the Acceptability of Racial Microaggressions Scale (see Appendix D), and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (see Appendix G).

Results suggest that WP awareness was negatively predictive of the acceptability of racial microaggressions among majority group members [t(189) = -9.26, p < .001; β = -.56]. The costs associated with WP, the willingness to confront WP, and WP remorse were not found to be significant mediators. However, the PMAPS was a significant moderator [β = -.17; t (189) = -2.804, p < .001]. This effect appeared to be the strongest when both WP awareness and PMAPS were high (t = -5.83) compared to low (t = -3.18). Overall, results from this study help to explain why and when majority group individuals might find racial microaggressions acceptable. This research may subsequently help to inform future research as well as potential programming designed to decrease the prevalence of racial microaggressions with individual differences in mind.


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